Sunday, March 04, 2007

Trident......Conspiracy Theory Continues.............

............only teasing! Though like Colin Ross, I was disappointed not to get called. In fact I will no longer be able to boast that I have not been to a conference where I have not spoken at least three times....this time it was precisely zero. I am wondering if I am now on the naughty list, or if being on FPC is regarded as being establishment (?!) or were the movers of the motion so convinced that I would deliver such a catastrophic nuclear blow........they ate my card before it reached the table???! Whatever......unlike Colin, I can't say this is what I would have said since I tend to go by bullet points, a risky strategy maybe, but since its not what you say its the way that you say it?!

However, so that my notes don't go to waste, just for what its worth, this is sort of what I would have said:

Conference (pregnant pause, turn back to the delegates revealing the words on my T shirt of retired general - Useless, Expensive, Dangerous) that's not a description of me......(helpless laughter, or maybe embarrassed clearing of throats like the time I mentioned men's willies in a speech).....that's the description of Trident by a retired general..........

"The nuclear arms race has no military purpose wars cannot be fought with nuclear weapons. Their existence only adds to our perils"

Who said that? (another well timed pregnant pause.......) Lord Mountbatten in 1979.(have to take into account that not all delegates are as old as me, most maybe, but not all)

Conference, the argument against replacing Trident is not a pacifist one..........I am not a pacifist. 35 years ago almost to the day I took the Queen's shilling (little aside.....I know, you could sign up at 5 in those days......quickly move on as no-one gets the joke - but you look nearly as old as Ming - I hear them thinking!).....prepared to give my life if necessary in defence of my country. At that time our forces were fit for purpose. No tales of melting boots, soldiers dying for lack of body armour, weapons that could not be fired. But in those "cold war" days, when there were real fears about nuclear attacks, whilst there were hijackings, the notion of widespread terrorism was not even on the radar.

Very different it has to be said, from the threats we face today. Sadly rather like the man who builds a dam in a time of drought to protect him from the flood; when he is actually far more likely to be engulfed by the flames of the forest fires.........we are virtually ignoring the real enemy.

This is a time as no other. It is a time when we should be investing in our conventional forces and ensuring they are properly equipped. It is a time we should be investing in our intelligence and security services to anticipate the real dangers. It is a time when we should be recognising the real roots of conflict and investing in tackling poverty and injustice around the world. It is a time when at home, we should be investing in the education of our children, the health care of our sick and the pensions of our elderly. Conference, it is a time when we should be leading by example not retreating to old imperialistic notions of our importance in the world

Instead, today we are being urged to "keep the door open" on this white elephant.

And if we pass this motion, frankly there is a serious anomaly in our position. How can we have a policy against nuclear power but for nuclear weapons?

And no one has even touched on the danger of accidents. Last night I was chatting to one of our activists who used to work in the nuclear industry. She was explaining to me that the real danger associated with Trident was refuelling. She told me "It's like having a floating nuclear reactor in the middle of Plymouth"........well that's alright then, only Plymouth will be obliterated! I'm in Bedford, so I'm alright Jack!!! (pun............get it?!)

One of the arguments proposed by the movers of this motion is that keeping our options open will ensure we still have a seat at the table. Actually, we will still have a seat at the table regardless of whether we have Trident or not. The real question is why do we think we have any moral authority in the world anymore, particularly with the so called "rogue states" when we were so willing to jump into bed with George Bush on his little mission to destroy Iraq?

Conference, the main motion leaves us looking's not a fence we're sitting on it's more like the Berlin Wall!

Today, with amendment two we have an opportunity to show real leadership. Friends, the tide is turning, almost half our fellow citizens agree we don't need Trident, lets catch that tide rather than drown in the undertow.

I want to leave you with one more quote from an American General Omar Bradley:

"The world has achieved brilliance without vision, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear powers and ethical infants."

OK......if you still disagree with me fine, but please don't tell me coz I am still suffering from PCS.......Post Conference day I can reassure myself, I will be on the winning side!!!


expriest said...

I wish you had had a chance tomake that speech linda,

I wish the debate had been twice as long.

When you move a mountain you do it one boulder at a time.

We just have to have a lot of us picking up boulders.



Linda Jack said...

Thanks very much for that expriest! Yes, I am very disappointed, though when the dust settles will probably be more encouraged that we are moving on the issue at least. Maybe I will have to be content with going and lying on the road at Faslane!